2016 Domaine Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 95
Jeb Dunnuck: 95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.0%
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"Intense, with a core of dark plum, boysenberry and fig reduction flavors that are a bit brooding in feel, while licorice snap, roasted alder and tar notes hold sway for now. Shows a terrifically racy graphite and iron spine and a long, smoldering finish, so just let this stretch out in the cellar. Best from 2020 through 2040. -J.M" (WS)

"Full-bodied and velvety, Sabon's 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve is a step up from the les Olivets bottling and probably represents the best value in the 2016 lineup. Tasted blind, it showcases ripe dark plum and cola but also super ripe Grenache notes of apricot and delicate hints of garrigue, then it turns rich and chewy on the long finish. It's 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah, matured in a mix of foudres and oak vats.

This estate, created in 1952, has become one of the benchmarks of the appellation, bottling four different red cuvées and one white. For my money, the best values are the Prestige and Reserve bottlings, which often rival the much pricier and more limited Le Secret de Sabon. There is no small-format oak in the cellars and very few demi-muids. The bulk of the élevage occurs in foudres of 40 and 42 hectoliters or in oak vats of 25 hectoliters. While the samples I tasted of the 2017s were very impressive, collectors should note that quantities at the domaine were down 50% across the board, according to winemaker Didier Négron. In addition to the wines reviewed here, I tried four other vintages of Le Secret de Sabon. My impressions differ very little from the notes already in the archives for the 2015 (96 points), 2014 (94 points), 2005 (96 points) and 2004 (94 points), so I've not provided additional details here. The 2004, 2005 and 2014 are all delicious now, and collectors holding some may want to check in on their bottles to assess their maturity." (WA)

"The same blend as the Les Olivets (80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre), the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve is similarly inky ruby/purple-colored and gives up a more dense, serious, backward style in its blackberry, melted licorice, roasted herb, and graphite aromas and flavors. With terrific minerality, full body, sweet tannin, and beautiful purity, it's a seriously good 2016 that's going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and drink nicely for 10-15." (JD)